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  • Great Northern 0-1 2-8-2 to a Spokane, Portland & Seattle 0-1 2-8-2

    Spokane Portland & Seattle O-1 2-8-2 #506 at Portland Oregon in 1950. - Photo: Jim Morris Collection
    Prototype Modeler - February 1981 - Page 6 width=

    By Skip Caswell

       The Spokane, Portland and Seattle acquired thirteen 0-1 Class 2-8-2 Mikado engines from the Great Northern. Engine Number 506, the one I chose to model, was built in 1913 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works as Great Northern engine Number 3023 and was scrapped in November of 1950. The Sunset GN 0-1 closely resembles SP&S engines 500 through 507. The shape of the sand dome and the cab front are the only major differences I can see between the Sunset model and the prototype. Number 508 through 512 of the 0-1 class have the steam and sand domes in a different location on the superstructure. I chose not to change the cab front as it would have required rebuilding the entire locomotive superstructure to fit a new cab on the boiler.

       Editor's Note: The Spokane Portland and Seattle acquired thirteen 0-1 Class locomotives from the Great Northern. In this grouping were two distinct series of locomotives. The first group, SP&S 500-507 were purchased from the GN in the 1920's, remaining in the roster until the late 1940's or early 1950's. The SP&S 508-512 were purchased from the GN in the mid-1940's and remained in the roster until the early 1950's. The Great Northnern had 145 O-1 Mikes built from 1911 to 1918. On the GN they rebuilt a number of times, with added improvements during each rebuilding. One of the features of the rebuilding was a new cab with a slanted front.

    Spokane Portland & Seattle O-1 2-8-2 #510 taken int Portland Oregon in May 1957. - Photo: H. K. Vollrath Morris Collection

    The left side of #506 reveals the air pump piping and the tender details. - Photo: Skip Caswell
    Prototype Modeler - February 1981 - Page 7 width=

       The SP&S 500-507 were received from the Great Northern prior to the cab modification and had square cabs. The 508-512 received much later came with the slanted cabs of the rebuilt O-1 Class.

       The Sunset model is a model of the Great Northern Number 3056 as it was retired to a park in Williston, North Dakota. This model has the slandted cab of the rebuilt O-1's.

       As author Caswell points out above, it would be a major rebuilding to change the cab style and he did not feel in his conversion that he wanted to essentially make an entire new superstructure for his model. Thanks to George Berisso for the foregoiong prototype info.

    Spokane Portland & Seattle O-1 2-8-2 #510 taken int Portland Oregon in May 1957. - Photo: H. K. Vollrath Morris Collection

    The left side of #506 reveals the air pump piping and the tender details. - Photo: Skip Caswell
    Prototype Modeler - February 1981 - Page 8 width=


      Manufacturer Qty Part No. Description
      Cary Locomotive Works 1 ea SI-112 Steam Injector, GN Large Modern
      Kemtron 2 ea 4424 Air Compressor, New York Cross-
    Compound - or, Use Precision Scale Company Air Compressor below
        1 ea 7507 PRR Headlight, with Bracket
        1 ea 299 Pipe Tee
      MV Products 1 ea 199 GN Headlight Lens
        1 ea 149 PRR Headlight Lens
      Cal-Scale  1 ea 225 Oil H eater
      Precision Scale Company 2 ea 3078  Air Compressor, New York Cross-
    Compound - or Use Kemtron above
        1 ea 3119 Deck Braces
        1 ea J4843 Machine Lagged Pipe
        1 ea 3201 Water, D&RGW
      Walthers as req'd 28 ga. Brass Spring Wire
        as req'd 26 ga. Brass Spring Wire
        as req'd 24 ga. Brass Spring Wire
        as req'd 22 ga. Brass Spring Wire
        as req'd 18 ga. Brass Spring Wire
      Miscellaneous as req'd .005" Brass Shim Stock
        as req'd .010" Brass Shim Stock
      Champion Decal 1 set   SP&S Steam Locomotive Decals


       I began my conversion by acquiring a Sunset Great Northern 0-1 Class locomotive and an Overland E-15 4-6-0 tender. I saved the O-1 tender for use on another SP&S engine conversion. I haven't acquired the skills necessary to build a tender from scratch so I took the coward's way out. I chose engine Number 506 because there is a left side photo in Wood's SP&S Book, and I was able to get a right side photo from H.K. Vollrath. The photo in the SP&S book is 1950 vintage, while the H. K. Vollrath photo was taken in 1935. There are many differences between the two photographs. I tried to duplicate the 1950 version of the engine.

       Soldering tweezers, Microflame torch, and cyanoacrylate cement were used to attach new parts after the lacquer finish was stripped off, otherwise it is hard to solder parts on. Remove the blow down muffler and the steam supply pipe from the muffler to the air compressor. Save the governor valve that is attached to the steam supply line. I had a great deal of difficulty filling the hole where the muffler used to be installed, but was able to hide the hole under the new steam supply line. Remove the injector piping but not the injector. Remove the cooling coil piping from the compressor to the air tank. Save the cooling coil pipe hangers for later use. Remove the two air compressors. These will be replaced with the New York compressors. Cut the compressor mounting bracket as shown in Figure 1, cut on the dotted lines, otherwise the center section of the mounting bracket will show when the new compressors are installed. Remove the sand pipes but not the sand dome attachment.

    Locomotive 506 looks right at home with cars from the SP&S and GN on the author's model railroad. - Photo: Skip Caswell
    Prototype Modeler - February 1981 - Page 9 width=

       For the next couple of operations refer to Figure 2. Drill a hole in the cab front for the steam supply line to the air compressors. Drill a hole in the top of the fire box for the exhaust muffler and fill in the old muffler mounting hole. Install and solder the muffler in the new hole. Drill the two holes in the running board for the muffler pipes. I terminated the forward muffler pipe behind the air compressor mounting bracket and ran the rear pipe under the firebox.

       The New York air compressors and the associated piping is next. Solder the two air compressors to the mounting bracket. Install the boiler to the frame of the engine and check to make sure the eccentric crank does not hit the bottom of the forward air compressor. If the crank does hit the air compressor, you will have to move the compressor up slightly. Take two pipe tees and drill one out so it will slide over the 2 3/4" machine lagged pipe and drill the other one out so it will slide over the 1 1/4" air pipe (24 gauge wire). Also, enlarge the hole in the governor valve so it will slide over the lagged pipe. Refer to Figures 3 and 4 for the piping arrangement for the air compressors.

       The machine lagged pipe is very easy to bend. Slide the governor valve onto the lagged pipe. Make the pipe bends and solder the pipe in where it goes into the cab and the running board. Install the pipe tee on the end. I used cyanoacrylate cement for this operation after repeatedly trying to solder it on. Now, pre-bend and install the exhaust piping to the air compressors. I terminated the exhaust lines behind the air tank. Now, pre-bend and add a pipe tee where the two lines join and then install the air supply lines to the air tank. Run another 1 1/4" air line (24 gauge wire) from the left hand air tank under the smoke box to the right hand air tank.

    The right side boiler detail showing the steam and sand lines. - Photo: Skip Caswell
    Prototype Modeler - February 1981 - Page 10 width=

       The next step will require the photograph in the SP&S book for the installation of the delivery pipe. Use 3 1/2" pipe (18 gauge wire) for the delivery pipe. Bend and solder the delivery pipe to the injector. I made a small pipe union out of sheet brass, wrapped it around the pipe joint and soldered the two pipe ends together. Solder the other end behind the compressor mounting bracket where the pipe from the boiler check ends. Run the 2 3/4" machine lagged pipe for the steam supply line to the injector from underneath the cab. Solder the oil preheater along the bottom edge of the fire box. Remove both cab windows.

       Study the photograph in the book and Figure 4 for the proper placement of the sand pipes. Drill two No. 71 holes in the running board for the sand pipes. Use 24 gauge wire and install and solder the sand pipes in the sand dome and under the running board. I left the three sets of steps on the side of the boiler so I wouldn't have to fill in the holes. I didn't change the running board as indicated in the photo. That completes the left side of the engine.

       Begin the right side by removing the boiler check piping, sand pipes, reversing linkage, air brake reservoir, injector valve, injector piping, and cooling coil. Remove the blow down valve on the lower side of the fire box and save it for remounting later.

       Refer to the photograph of the engine for the mounting and pipe routing of the Great Northern injector. The Great Northern Railroad was one of the few railroads that used the exhaust type injectors. Another interesting item about the Great Northern injectors is that I have not been able to locate a photograph of any engine that has this type of injector on both sides of the engine. To install the injector and piping takes a lot of trial and error fitting. Nine inch pipe is used for the exhaust steam supply line to the injector. I was not able to find any of the proper size pipe so I chucked some larger pipe up in my electric drill and filed down. Refer to Figure 5a and Figure 5b for the placement of the hole in the top of the cylinder block for the exhaust steam supply line.

    Prototype Modeler - February 1981 - Page 11 width=

       The hole for the exhaust steam supply line to the injector is behind the valve lube oil pump. The No. 31 hole has to be drilled at an angle with the drill angled back towards the rear of the cylinder block. Now, comes the fun part! Bend the exhaust steam supply pipe so that when the injector is mounted on the bottom of the fire box it is parallel to the ground. With the injector mounted on the fire box, the exhaust supply line will angle up towards the bottom of the running board and go in front of the fire box front. The bend at the top of the pipe should be parallel to the bottom of the running board. Refer to Figure 6 for detail. Once everything lines up properly, you will have to trim the pipe from the injector so that the pipe from the cylinder block and the injector join behind the reversing mechanism. This will hide the joint. Solder the two pipe ends together. The next bending operation will require proper fit between the injector exhaust steam supply piping and the cylinder block. Make the bends small at first and then attempt to install the boiler on the frame, checking for proper alignment. Once I had a pretty good fit, I soldered the injector and piping to the boiler. Minor adjustments to bends can then be done. With injector and exhaust steam supply pipe installed, we can finish the rest of the piping, that has to be installed to complete the injector. The water delivery pipe to the boiler is next. I wasn't able to install the delivery pipe exactly like the prototype photograph because there wasn't enough room forward of the firebox front. Refer to Figure 6 for the location of the delivery pipe. Drill the hole in the top of the running board for the 3 1/2" delivery pipe (18 gauge wire). Make the necessary bends and install the delivery pipe soldering the ends to the boiler check and the injector. Use t he 2 3/4" machine lagged pipe for the starting steam supply line to the injector. Install and solder the starting steam supply pipe. The blow down valve can be remounted on the firebox. I had to move it up slightly so it wouldn't interfere with the piping for the injector. Drill two holes in the bottom of the cab front for the reach rods to the injector and the blow down valve. Use No. 28 gauge wire for the reach rods. Add an extension pipe to the section of the injector so it extends to the rear of the cab.

       The reversing mechanism will have to be part of the back side filed off and part of the exhaust steam supply line ground down so the reversing mechanism will fit under the running board. Once this is done, solder the reversing mechanism on.

       After installing the reversing mechanism, you will probably have to relocate the reversing lever rod to the reversing mechanism.

       Drill holes in the running board for the two sand pipes and solder these in. Use No. 24 gauge wire. The air line from the front air tank is the next item to install using the pipe hangers from the cooling coils previously removed. Cut the pipe hangers down so only one pipe can be hung. I terminated the air line under the rear of the ladder from the running board to the pilot deck. Refer to Figure 6. The opposite end of the air line is bent back under the cab. The soldering tweezers really came in handy to attach the air line and pipe hangers.

       Slide the pipe hangers over the No. 24 gauge wire and then solder each pipe hanger to the underside of the cab.

       Before going on to the smokebox front, put the engine weight into the boiler because if you use my method for attaching the handrail on the smokebox front, you will not be able to put it on later. Refer to Figures 7 and 8 for the handrail and boiler stanchion details.

       Remove the tool box and front step from the pilot deck. The deck braces that come on the model could be left on and the front step added. (If I had to do it over again, I don't think I would replace the deck braces). Remove the deck braces from the pilot deck. Locate and drill the holes in the side of the smokebox for the new deck braces. Install the deck braces temporaily and then put the superstructure on the engine frame.

       I had to do a lot of bending of the deck braces to get them to line up properly. Once everything looks okay, solder the deck braces to the smokebox side. Now, take a piece of diamond tread and cut out the front step conforming to the dimensions in Figure 8a. Cut out the backing plate from sheet brass as in Figure 8b. Solder the two pieces together as in Figure 8c. Solder the front step onto the deck braces. This is a fragile assembly so be careful that you don't break off the tabs. Dress up the solder connection with a small jeweler's file.

       Locate and drill the holes for the handrail stanchions on the smokebox front. Solder the two top stanchions on and then slide the No. 26 gauge wire through the first stanchion, make the first bend and then slide the bottom handrail stanchion on and solder it in its respective hole.

    The redetailed 506 has clean lines and yet eye catching details. - Photo: Skip Caswell
    Prototype Modeler - February 1981 - Page 12 width=

       Continue the rest of the bends in the handrail. I soldered the handrail ends to the first handrail stanchion on the side of the smokebox. That's why you won't be able to remove the smokebox front to install the boiler weight. Mill out the front coupler pocket so the coupler of your choice will fit. That completes the locomotive.


       All that is left is to make a few changes to the tender. Refer to Figures 9a and 9b for the tender modifications.

       Begin by removing the oil deck to water deck handrail and steps. Remove headlight casting and the water tank hatch and riser. Save the tank hatch for later use. Fill the riser holes. After I went to the trouble to scratchbuild a new water hatch riser, I found a casting that is made by Precision Scale Company. But, in case you are unable to obtain one, I have included how to build one from scratch. Cut out the new water tank hatch riser as per Figure 9c using brass shim stock.

       I heated the riser with a torch (annealed) so it would be easy to bend. I made a balsa wood form to bend the wrapper around. Hemostat clips come in handy to hold the riser together while you are soldering the seam together. Cyanoacrylate adhesive can also be used instead of soldering it together. Solder the water tank hatch on the riser (or cement it on if you prefer). Make sure the seam is at the back of the hatch so if you don't do too good a job; it will be hidden when it is installed. I cemented the riser and hatch onto the tender deck. Cut off the new headlight casting from the headlight mounting bracket casting and solder the new headlight casting onto the bracket that is mounted on the tender deck.

    Neat workmanship and a fine paint job enhance #506. - Photo: Skip Caswell
    Prototype Modeler - February 1981 - Page 13 width=


       Wash the parts of the engine to remove the soldering flux and paint the engine. The black and white photograph seems to indicate to me the Glacier Park paint scheme. Painting the engine black wouldn't be too unprototypical if you feel the Glacier Park paint scheme is too much. I added the MV Products headlight lenses and used Champ decals to decal the model. The Champ decal set is in white and not prototypical as the locomotives of the SP&S were lettered in gold, but as of this writing, gold SP&S lettering is not commercially available that I know of.

       With a few minor exceptions such as the cab front and the lettering, I think the finished conversion is exactly like the prototype photograph. Presently this roundhouse forman is trying to decide which GN to SP&S conversion to do next. With two engine conversions completed and the addition of an E-1 4-8-4, the railroad has enough motive power to at least get a few trains over the road.

    Article Details

    • Original Author Skip Caswell
    • Source Prototype Modeler
    • Publication Date February 1981

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